Friday, June 23, 2006

The Wuerly-Bird Gets the Staff

Tell me, friends: Who else could bring John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Benedict Groeschel together under one roof?

What a day.

Yes, I was there. Yes, it was marvelous. And, of course, yes, I have weeks worth of stories to tell you -- and those are just the on-record ones.

Should you be curious, however: no, there is no full-text of Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl's 27-minute installation homily just yet. Until it materializes, just know that it was engaging and rich in material.

As I recover, Ann Rodgers tells the story:
Three thousand people filled the largest Catholic church in the Western Hemisphere to welcome him. They ranged from U.S. senators to recent immigrants. Metropolitan Maximos of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Pittsburgh accompanied Archbishop Demetrios of North America as representatives of the Orthodox tradition.

"In an age that so desperately needs to hear the gospel of life, to witness the splendor of truth, and to live the challenge of faith and reason, the church -- you and I -- gathered around the successors to the apostles, one with Peter, must lovingly, persuasively and fearlessly reflect the light of Christ," Archbishop Wuerl said.

Music commissioned for his 1988 installation in Pittsburgh made the transfer with him to Washington. The ceremony, in the grandeur beneath the great domes of the basilica, nevertheless felt familiar to those who had witnessed his major diocesan Masses in Pittsburgh.

Hundreds of Pittsburghers appeared to have made the trip, including 50 priests. Helen Cindrich, president of People Concerned for the Unborn Child, was present, as was Rabbi Alvin Berkun of Tree of Life Congregation in Squirrel Hill. Mayor Bob O'Connor, the father of a priest, had a seat of honor in front of two U.S. senators, John F. Kerry and Edward M. Kennedy.

In his homily, Archbishop Wuerl addressed questions that many had raised about his role in the nation's capital. The first task of every bishop, everywhere, is to teach, he said. But to teach means to apply the faith to all of the issues and circumstances of the present day.

"It is also the role of the church to see that the light of the gospel shines on all of the discussions and all of the debates that help to mold our culture and society. The voice of our most cherished values, the voice of the great teaching tradition rooted in God's word and God's wisdom, simply has to impact on our culture, our society," he said.
Oh, and more from the hometown Post....

What a day.

AP/Evan Vucci